Although forming a decade ago back in 2008, French hardcore crew Rise Of The Northstar have only managed two EPs and one full-length release to their name (2014’s ‘Welcame’), notably changing their line-up several times in the process.
All that is set to change though with the arrival of their second record, ‘The Legacy Of Shi’, produced by Gojira frontman and fellow countryman, Joe Duplantier. Unfortunately, for Rise Of The Northstar, the nationality of both bands is the only common link between them.
What’s presented here is a confusing mixture of thrash metal, hardcore, and full on hip-hop-infused rap that never seems to consistently stay in a space long enough to provide songs that will entice repeated spins. While groovy guitar riffs and an eclectic splattering of electronica on case in point ‘Here Comes The Boom’ gives something to latch onto, the levels of mostly monotone rapping soon puts any notion of keenness to one side.
Several elements of Rage Against The Machine worship come into play throughout this album, no more so than on ‘Nekketsu’, with its decent chuggy tones carved up by a harmonic guitar solo.
The wackiness is ramped up on ‘Kozo’ with a school playground feel to its immature chorus melody, before breaking down into a lumbering heavy-ended passage replete with vocals plucked straight out of the depths of hell itself. There’s no exaggeration meant when these vocals are comparable to some sort of demonic monster from a 1950s horror flick.
The constant levels of change on this album are incredibly frustrating; when you’re presented with a decent groove metal template on ‘Teenage Rage’ only for it to descend into more illegible French rapping, you’re left wondering what the band were trying to achieve. They do redeem themselves slightly, however, with album highlight ‘This Is Crossover’, combining a frenetic thrash metal onslaught with decent pace and heaviness.
This record certainly won’t be for everyone (old school metallers should look away), though if you’re partial to be a of hip-hop in your musical make-up then there may be elements that’ll satisfy you. Despite brief moments of interesting sonic mash-ups, its the repetitive breakdowns, grating rapping and clichéd aesthetic makes ‘The Legacy Of Shi’ very difficult to consider listening to again.
After getting into alternative music during the mid 90s with the rise of nu-metal and pop-punk, I’ve gradually spread my interests far and wide and have a real love for metalcore, prog metal and tech metal. Amongst other things, I am a husband, father of two amazing kids, heavy metal DJ, and video game/book/nerd enthusiast!